A brief history of the square
Berkeley Square was named after John Berkeley, first Lord of Berkeley of Stratton, who took possession of the land to the north of his newly acquired house in Piccadilly in 1675. The 4th Lord Berkeley and his son John entered into an agreement with two carpenters (Edward Cook and Francis Hilliard) for a building lease of about six and half acres of the Berkeley Fields for the development of their estate.
The bricks for the new buildings were made on the spot from the earth dug in Berkeley Fields. The first houses to define the square were constructed around 1738 on the East side. The West side was finished by 1745. and a few of the original houses still survive, most notably Number 44.
Although Berkeley Square became the height of fashion for a town residence, there were also various shops and business houses. There was Hemley's coffee house, bought and converted before 1744 to become Gwynn's Tavern. A carpenter, wax chandler, woollen draper, undertaker, distiller, hosier, tailor and apothecary were all based in Berkeley Square.
Lansdowne House was designed by Robert Adam in about 1762 for the third Earl of Bute and stood on the South side. It later went on to be regularly used as a venue for cabinet meetings, enhancing the square's reputation as a political centre of the time.
Gordon Selfridge (founder of the department store on Oxford Street) lived in Lansdowne House for eight years until 1929. Other notable residents include Horace Walpole (1717–1797), Colley Cibber (1671–1757), Henry Flitcroft, Robert Lord Clive and George Canning (1770–1827).
"When true lovers meet in Mayfair so the legends tell...and a nightingale sang in Berkeley Square"
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